Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

Christmas Made in the South at the Prime Osborne Convention Center has been an annual pilgrimage for me for the last four or five years, ever since my friend, Sharon, introduced me to it.

Picture a warehouse, divided into four aisles lined with STUFF, roughly compartmentalized into booths by pvc pipe and fabric. It sounds like it should be awful, but somehow, and I’m quite sure this is due to a healthy helping of Christmas magic, the place looks and smells wonderful. And the STUFF is fantastic! The place is lined wall to wall with every conceivable category of gifts and decorations: crystal tree ornaments, jewelry, soap, lotions, emery boards, wooden toys, quilts, children’s clothes, pashminas, candles, jams/jellies, and a host of other items; all handmade, beautiful and reasonably priced. It’s like Santa’s workshop mated with a giant, upscale yard sale. I’m pretty sure several of the vendors are actually elves in disguise. The atmosphere is relaxed and congenial. Though it does get crowded,  no one is angry or in a hurry.

In the past my daughters have gone with me. This year it seemed that neither would be able to make it. As it happened, Vic and I had planned a trip down to Tampa to visit relatives, so I wasn’t even sure I was going.

After talking with my husband, it was decided that I would make my annual pilgrimage, but quickly, since he wanted to leave by noon. I didn’t mention my plans to the girls since, as I thought, they had other plans. Then I posted my intentions on Facebook. Within fifteen minutes Rai was calling.

“I thought you weren’t going!”

“Well, I just decided last night. I thought you didn’t want to go.”

“Of course I want to go. I always want to go with you.”

“Soooo, I’ll pick you up in forty five minutes?”

“I’ll be ready.”

So, this year it was me, Rai and Alice. It was a wonderful surprise. Erika did battle with the Black Friday Mall crowd instead. I have no doubt she will emerge victorious. Some things never surprise.


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